May 15, 1926


JAMA. 1926;86(20):1552-1553. doi:10.1001/jama.1926.02670460060012

The toxicity of many of the heavy metals has been known for generations, yet these substances have not been regarded as a menace to human health except in limited instances where industrial conditions or occupational circumstances exposed workers to the chemical hazards in some uncommon way. However much the student of vocational diseases might become concerned with the effects of metallic poisons, the treatises on public health and personal hygiene rarely discuss them except in a casual manner. As a consequence of modern economic and social changes, the latent dangers of poisoning from certain heavy metals are now suddenly presented to the public at large. To gasoline and the automobile we owe the nation-wide concern about lead;1 suicides and syphilis have awakened a new interest in mercury not merely as a drug but also as a poison; and now the advent of the "bootlegger" and home brew has brought

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